There are a number of braiding techniques, all producing different forms of braid. See the braid page for a discussion of braid types and uses, below is a list of techniques and links to pages on them.
- fingerloop braids - produces either flat decorative braids, or flat-one-one-side braids good for couching. Quite quick to make, but hard to make longer than a metre or so in length and increasingly harder to add more threads (as you only have ten fingers). Decorations are diverse, but limited by the highly interlooped way the threads move in the band
- tablet woven braids - produces flat braids of any length (within reason) and with a very high degree of control over the decoration (especially with the advanced double-face and 3/1 twill techniques). The braids are also very strong and durable.
- kumihimo - produces circular cross-section braids of astonishing complexity and beauty - traditionally made in silk, weaving tends to take a bit more time, but the results are worth it
- lucet - produces square or couching braids - braiding is quite easy to do, though it can be time-consuming and the threads used must be hard-wearing due to abrasion - but this is a braiding technique that can be taken on the train/bus with you.
- fingerweaving - produces cords or flatish braids that may have semi-complex patterns, multiple colours and may be longer than fingerloop braids. Not as strong as other techniques, no equipement required, medium speed and complexity.
- plaiting - like you might do with long hair, a simple 3 strand plait is period, as are plaits using higher numbers of strands. However probably used less in period as it is neither as strong nor decorative as other techniques.
Instructions on some basic braids and more complicated plaits can be found through Phiala's string pages: http://www.stringpage.com/
A good start being her basic braiding pages (please note she's moving her site so these links may become inactive): http://www.stringpage.com/old/braids.html http://www.stringpage.com/old/coolbraid.html http://www.stringpage.com/old/fingerloop.html